Tag Archives: Transformation Paradox Resolution

Paradox 4x1,5

Harnessing the Power of Paradox

The very nature of business transformation is a paradox.

A fundamental principle of transformation and part of what makes transformation different than ‘change’ is that the polarization of mindset from current state to transformed state is so dramatic that the two ways of thinking are nearly impossible to consider together.

The Transformational Organization Paradigm uses the naturally occurring paradoxes in thinking, activity, and outcome as a source of forward propulsion for transformative work. At each level of the organization affected by transformative work paradoxes of intention, demand, skillset, goal and purpose exist. Identifying these as transformative work is approached and as they emerge over the course of the initiative is typically untapped success leverage. Leaders, operational staff and program and project team members will often be shocked into immobilization when confronted by paradoxical demands inherent in transformative work, or otherwise may have difficulty navigating the paradoxes and working through them. In doing so they ignore a powerful tool that may be used to move more deftly through ambiguity and uncertainty toward the transformed state.

Transformative paradoxes must be taken in as a whole rather than expressed in piecemeal by individual risk items or issue items or resistance items. And, the greatest forward motion a transformative effort can gain is through constantly encountering and resolving the highest friction point within the paradox.

The Transformational Organization maps the transformation paradoxes across the organizations formal and informal functions, groups, and teams as part of the transformation strategy work. And as each program, project, task force, work package and activity is approached the paradoxes inherent in moving from current state to transformed state are remapped at lower and lower levels.

The identification, mapping and navigation of paradoxes also forms a large part of specific change intelligence capabilities related to turning unacceptable unknowns/uncertainty into acceptable unknowns/uncertainty in the minds of executive, management and staff.

Navigating paradoxes is a skill that requires each leader and team member to confront the opposing directives, thinking, activity, outcome, assumptions, intention, demand, skillset, goal or purpose within the current context and ask questions like : What new truth are realizing at this point? What is real and harness-able at this moment that will move us forward? What can I think and do now that matters?

The image above represents the paradox that is the very nature of business transformation.

water flowing into hands

Truths About Transformation – Part II How Far Is It From Here to Transformed?

 

Transformation demands that the organization get serious about matching how it originates, orients, and conducts business with the nature, qualities and characteristics of the New Millennium Era business paradigm.  To do this it must unlearn some amount what it has learned before attempting to transform. The first article in this series talked about how to tell if your initiative is indeed a transformation, or just a regular change.  This article offers insight into the target/transformation paradigm as the goal you’re working for when you transform.

In short, there is an entirely new ideology that organizations strive for when they transform, although it is difficult to discern and express beyond what people will be doing differently on a task level for most organizations.  I can offer a metaphor for CIOs to keep in their minds and guide their conversations…

Regardless of how much change management business-side leaders employ there is a lingering insistence that this work should create or follow a machine-like pathway for change to occur – that is, business-side leaders approach change as if the organization is a machine or assembly line, and when they begin to realize that it isn’t they bring change management specialists to make it that way.  In fact, most modern organizations are like organisms with many inter-related systems and overarching controls and channels for information flow and direction.

Furthermore, the real depth of complexity of the ‘organism’ organization is only evident when leaders begin to consider making changes. When it comes to transformative change, the magnitude is exponential and this is because the organization is attempting a metamorphosis from an organism of systems to something I and other organizational psychology professionals refer to as ‘flux’ (continuous transformation). Diagrammatically, this concept looks like this…

heirarchy  image006  image007

How most leaders regard     How the organization really is    How the organization will
the organization and              right now.                                      operate in its future state,
approach transformative                                                               which is the whole point of
change.                                                                                              transforming.

The above depiction is not news to most IT leaders. Helping business-side leaders to come to terms with this, is another matter and so I can offer some grounding points for CIOs in their efforts to deal with gaps in understanding and promote a more appropriate way of getting transformative change through.

THE NEW ‘SUCCESS’ MINDSET

Hallmarks of the mindset that is indicative of an organization that is ready to do the work to shift paradigms/lead and manage transformation include:

  1. Knowledge that future success cannot be predicated on the past – at least not for the next 20 years
  2. Understanding that universal, predictable, and very specific qualities and characteristics underpin the transformed state and are the target
  3. Knowing that a tried and true recipe for failure is to approach transformation work as if the organization is a like a machine rather than like an organism
  4. Recognition that Industrial Age paradigms are so deeply embedded that breakdowns and breakthroughs should be pursued and managed as a necessary process of transformation at the organization, team and individual levels
  5. Acceptance that the new paradigm is so foreign that it will take disciplined effort to transform from being like an ‘organism’ that grows and evolves, into a ‘flux’ that is never the same from one day to the next.
  6. Acceptance that in order to save time, money, and the mental, physical, and emotional health of people, preparing the way for transformation work in advance is necessary – and this is accomplished by targeting the paradigm shift in addition to applying classic change management.

So, all of this begs the question ‘How far do we need to go to transform?’.  I.e. ascertaining the depth and nature of the journey can be a big help.  Not only does this thumbnail enable some preparation to be made, it adds a degree of predictability amidst the sea of unknowns that typically accompany transformative change.

TAKE THE TEST

Mark where your organization is at in making the from and to characteristic shifts the cultural and operational norm using the continuums below. Identify low marks as areas that need more preparation before spending capital dollars on transformation. Average the percentages to get a sense of the scale overall scale of work:

FROM                                                                                    TO                                                                      

Work and Effort Application Method :

Separate People, Command     1  .  2  . 3  .  4  .  5         Continuous Connectedness & Collaboration
& Control

Prevailing Leadership :

Reward & Punishment          1  .  2  .  3  .  4  .  5         Inspiration & Individualized Meaning

Information Flow :

Withholding Information = Power          1  .  2  .  3  .  4  .  5         Sharing of Information = Power

Success Measurement :

Weaknesses Against Goals          1  .  2  .  3  .  4  .  5         Contribution of Strengths to Goals

Thought Capital Management :

Compliance & Conformity          1  .  2  .  3  .  4  .  5         Ingenuity & Innovation

Most organizations have made progress on the above through the application of matrix managed structures. To be clear, you are aiming to tip the balance on the shift in mindset and paradigm and not aiming to secure a wholesale shift in every corner of your organization.  Preparatory work to shake loose the Industrial Age thinking and methods should focus on the most steeped/rooted areas of the organization and the most advanced/aligned areas of the organization.

A New Industrial Revolution is Coming

Over the past 25 years, the Internet has radically altered the way people communicate and share ideas and the way businesses interact with customers and clients.

For an even longer period, starting in the 1950s with the so-called Third Industrial Revolution, businesses have become more digitized. In the next few decades, a new industrial revolution will combine elements of these two trends, along with related technologies and practices, into a truly “smart” manufacturing process.

This convergence is known as the Industrial Internet, Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things. Whatever the name, the result will profoundly affect global trade patterns, supply chains and societies. The impact will vary, presenting many opportunities for developed countries to be more disruptive in developing economies and possibly limiting the use of low-end manufacturing for quick modernization and development.

Nonetheless, this Fourth Industrial Revolution will change manufacturing, industry and society.

Read more: https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/smart-factories-next-industrial-revolution#ixzz3cmM7z0Ih

 

The Primer for the Continuous Transformation Management Framework

Book Cover CTM PrimerGet to know the framework…

The primer for the Continuous Transformation Management Framework and Methodology describes its inner workings and is invaluable to anyone creating a business transformation office or seeking new leverage for transformation initiatives.  Usually distributed with licensed or paid services the Primer is also available in e-reader and PDF formats on Amazon. If you’re not picky about formatting you can get the ‘beta’ version of the Primer here for free. Simply email us and we’ll set you up with access to this book and our other publications.

Download Beta Version for Free - Registered Users Only

  PDF Filesize approximately 9MB.